It is 3 am on December 10th, and I am awake. Waking up to worry is a near constant part of the pandemic, the stress of my job, perhaps even my nature. Usually I can sleep until 4 am.
I am wrapped in Mark’s arms, supposed to be asleep, and between worries about work projects and the state of the world, is my son. In the dark of the night, Mark and Gabriel collide and they do not know each other.
I tucked my son in the space between my heart and my lungs to keep him safe. You would think this fact means that he goes to every place that I do, and yet. I am alive and my son is dead and there are places he cannot go. We are indivisible and yet permanently divided. My son, the most amazing thing I will ever accomplish, the light of my heart, he is invisible.
Mark knows about Gabriel, after a fashion. He knows that a long time ago there was a baby, but I got sick and the baby died and there could not be any more babies. He knows the ashes on the shelf are that baby, the photo on my dresser is me holding that baby. He knows that today is the anniversary of his death.
He does not know that tonight I will post a photo of his birthday cake, with a single candle. That I have done this for 12 years. I will sing him happy birthday in a darkened room. Today will be terrible and tomorrow will be better. Mark does not know me as a mother.
13 years on I am rarely caught off guard by grief. My sorrow is low maintenance, I can hurt and stand on my own feet. I know the cadence of the year, which will be the hard days. I know that today will pass unnoticed by most of the world. I know that there are places my little boy cannot go, even though he is always with me.
The day will come when I am the only person who remembers. When I am the only person to say his name, to treasure the half an hour we had. That will be enough. There is never a moment that I don’t see my son, never a moment that I forget.
Happy 13th birthday little boy. I miss you still. Always. Forever.
Dear friends and loved ones,
With great joy and heartbreak, we wish to announce: at 10:26 PM on December 10, 2007, Gabriel Anton was born into the hands of Cathy, his midwife, sang to in the arms of his mother, rocked in the arms of his father, bathed in the arms of his grandmother, and baptized in the arms of Regula, his Parish Priest.
At just after 11 PM, he was carried to Heaven in the arms of the Angels, where we will meet him again one day. At 520 grams (1 pound 2.4 ounces), and 33 cm (13 inches) he was wee, with 10 fingers and toes, and a full head of hair. He was a perfect, but very tiny baby.
For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart. Luke 12:34